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Laughing Academy at 40

‘One memory 40 years on’ – Neville Luxury on ‘Laughing Academy’ at 40…

Laughing in the back of our Mercedes 608D while weaving at a snail’s pace, escaping London, Jamie negotiating with sleeping policemen, and bumps in the road while Will, our other tour technician assessed the summer smells from Camden and Tottenham Court road. Stephen pondering the drum sound, Brian checking the vocals, Jimi examining the bass and Nev reflecting on the first album. </p> <p>Vicki ate Peapods and shared fresh bread while tour manager Sista Suzie organised within our touring temple everything including gear, food and fuel.<br /> There was much joy and discussion in our mobile metal tomb about Bilbo’s final cut of the vinyl, which was a live take from the ¼” master tape, and we agreed that we very much liked what Mike Howlett and Aldo Bocca had helped us to create.</p> <p>We completed Laughing Academy quite quickly as we were fresh from lots of touring and we all felt that all the atmosphere was embodied within the album.<br /> We enjoyed our long journey back up the A1 reflecting our next episodes on the road.<br /> Great times

Nev 3 9 2019

Punishment Of Luxury: Puppet Life – The Complete Recordings, 5CD Boxset is released on October 25th.

Written By: Punilux

Comments: 4

  • Yanush

    Reply January 23, 20204:50 pm

    Another memory – 40 years on. This time from the other side of the table; and in several(ish) parts as and when I get time.; a young fan’s journey into Punilux.
    Part One
    The first time I ever heard Punishment Of Luxury was one Sunday afternoon in 1979, around May, when Annie Nightingale played Jellyfish on her Radio 1 show. I was in my early teens, rather self-conscious and, at that time, along with a good mate at school, pretty much obsessed with Devo and The Stranglers. I may even have had the radio on to see if any tracks from Devo’s new album, Duty Now For The Future, were featured.
    Jellyfish stood out a mile, and by the end of that first hearing I was left wondering “Did I actually like that?” On the face of it, it seemed like some kind of comedy / novelty record, and the outrageous John Noakes impersonation at the end did nothing to dispel that possibility. And for sure, there was both comedy and novelty to it; but there seemed to be something more going on. It sounded like nothing else I’d heard – utterly distinctive; and despite the aquatic puns and references, and the mannered vocal delivery that placed at least one tentacle in the ‘novelty’ camp, there was a sense of panic and unease generated by the choppy, staccato guitar that propelled the song forward, particularly during the “Do the Jellyfish” instrumental break. I was baffled and intrigued.
    About a week later – on this occasion, hoping to do so – I heard Jellyfish again, this time on the Andy Peebles programme (Peebles referring to “Punishment Of Luxury, or pyoonilux for short”). And this time I knew full well that I liked it, and the following weekend, I headed into the city centre to pick up a copy.
    On the bus back home, I studied the cover, intrigued by the band pic on the back, four guys in knitted full-face balaclavas that seemed to fit well with the one song I’d heard so far. That and the front cover left me keen to hear Engine of Excess, which, the cover told me, was actually the lead-track rather than Jellyfish. The impression that this second track would make on me would determine if Punilux had any chance of further investigation, or if Jellyfish was a one-off, a curio in my rather slowly expanding record collection.
    Neither track disappointed. I was young and my musical tastes were developing, and it was a surprise how much Engine of Excess differed from the track that had hooked me in. I suppose I’d been expecting something akin to Jellyfish Part Two. But there was some relief in learning that they were most definitely not a novelty act, that EOE had pace, energy and bite. I liked the way the vocals swung between at least two people, and that the man delivering Jellyfish wasn’t stuck in that register. I knew that further investigation was warranted. I had been well and truly greeted by the Punilux tentacles.

  • Rolf

    Reply February 14, 20209:00 am

    How to become a fan, part 2
    I can’t remember how or why, but I saw Punilux around 1980 in the Markthalle, Hamburg. This gig blew me away with a very powerful mix of complex and intelligent songs that had a little punky but also a musical attitude (I like it when songs are so expressive that they could be parts of a musical). It seemed to be the best concert I ever saw and I’d been instantly hooked. The next day I bought “Laughing academy”. The album became a top ten alltime favourite of mine (it still is) and I played the vinyl to death. Same with “7” a few years later. It was a real loss to me when you disbanded, as I’d been delighted, when I saw Punilux on stage again at youtube movies around 2010 or so… And now there is this website! I hope I will see you playing live again… Whatever you’re working nowadays to make some money: Don’t forget that you are talented artists with a bunch of real (and of course really old) fans that will not forget any of your works. – Feel the duty 🙂

    • Yanush

      Reply February 19, 202012:10 pm

      Rolf, I envy you seeing Punilux live back in their original phase! I’ve seen them a few times since reformation and they’re still excellent, but I imagine a much more ‘kinetic’ and visual experience back in the day. If you can tell us any more, I’d love to hear it.
      If you’ve missed out on any of the other stuff (Revolution By Numbers, Gigantic Days, Feels Like Dancing Wartime) you should definitely snap up the box set. It also includes some great live stuff from around the time you saw them.
      I’ll be posting a bit more about my own route to Laughing Academy soon

  • Rolf

    Reply March 12, 20209:48 pm

    Hi Yanush,
    I’m sorry, but I cannot tell much more about the gig. All I can remember is, that I talked to Hamburgs Zick-Zack Indie labelmaker Alfred Hilsberg – who I thought would have been the organizer of the concert – saying, that he will get out of his financial crisis if he’ll manage to get more of bands like these. Nowadays I think he had no idea what I was talking about.
    I don’t even know if i’d been there accidentally or if I ‘d heard some music at John Peel’s before. But the combination of this concert and the laughing academy vinyl were overwhelming and from that day on I had them on my radar. – Years later, when we had the internet and Napster, there was a guy who shared his Berlin Kant Kino bootleg. He recorded with a small Walkman cassette recorder and it sounded not very good. But that was the first time I heard the demon and brain bomb. Really cool. – I had another moment of joy, when I found another laughing academy vinyl on a stroll through a flea market around 2009. My original vinyl was worn out and I sold it. Now I had the good sound back and I immediately digitized it. So these are my little Punilux stories… The next one will be about my Newcastle trip, when a 2020 gig is announced on this website.

    P.S. I have the box set. I’ve been so curious about 5. Best track for me is cry.

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